Out-take from Manna (JERUSALEM REDUX sequence). James Bellorini 2020.

Marking the point of submission for my Final Major Project and it’s worth taking a moment to reflect on what has come about for me as a photographic practitioner, and also to think ahead.

As I’ve remarked elsewhere, the FMP is definitely the beginning of MANNA as a longer term project. After the trials that came about during the first half of the process, I’m thrilled to be at a point where there is a definitive body of work to be proud of accompanied by a sense of forward motion.

Above all I am excited to have uncovered a voice as a photographer. This is something I struggled with prior to beginning the master’s. Though it’s early days with this discovery, I feel there is at last a connection between something personal and the ability to communicate via a way of seeing that connects with an audience. Understanding that my approach contains painterly, improvisatory, and urgent energies is a huge leap forward. Yes there is much still to be learned, but two years of consolidated work have given a boost to my creative confidence, as well as an ability to see the contextual and thematic links my work has on a wider level. I look forward to where this will take me.

Things that I am considering for the future:

  • To mature my approach and the accompanying use of narrative sequences and micro-stories present in MANNA.
  • To examine communality in the work further – starting with creating work that has more than one person in the images (pandemic depending).
  • Finishing the zine during 2021 and publishing it.
  • Travelling to Italy to connect with ‘origin stories’ relating to my direct family history and food.
  • To continue this Critical Research Journal – though inevitably this will change direction, its a good way to continue exploring developments and thinking for the project.
  • To continue developing the project website.
  • To develop and rebrand my freelance identity in the light of this new voice in my work.
  • Look to find the cross-over into the food network through relevant magazines, writers, chefs etc.

Finally, to have come through the deaths of two very close family members whilst studying for my master’s inevitably means that today also contains deep reflection about the people I lost and how their passing influenced my journey and the work. At the time I wasn’t sure how the grief and loss would affect my work. But, as my Papa was a chef and restaurateur, and my younger brother a cook in his own right, it’s evident in the exploration of food, my ever-deepening understanding of it, and in the threads of hospitality that the work contains. It’s also there in the need I have had to go on a photographic journey to explore my genealogical otherness. I also realise that the hospitality which they both had is the same one that shows up in me as a photographer and has guided a good deal of my creative journey. That is their legacy to the project and Manna is just as much about them as it is about me and the contributors directly involved.